Trip Start Jul 11, 2010
21Trip End Apr 22, 2011
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After a couple of hours the rain had stopped and we were ready and able to go out and explore, our hotel was based on Chaweng beach which is the most built up part of the island so we thought there would be plenty of us to discover that first afternoon - and plenty there was, well later on anyway after the road wasn't flooded anymore
The next day we woke up and the sun was shining, after a good breakfast at our hotel we ventured out again, so the roadside of Chaweng was what it was, that wasn't going to change, we didn't particularly like it but we accepted that, we still knew that there must be more to discover and we knew that we were staying on the most built up part of the island that unfortunately had become a monster of it's own making...tourists came, tourists demanded and then they got...double big Macs 'n' all (I never knew such a thing existed until I saw it on a menu outside McDonald's - double big mac??). So after walking down the very long never changing road, we wandered back by the beach side, what a welcome relief, the beautiful view across the sea, the white sand, people relaxing in the sun, having foot massages, sipping cocktails, we were starting to find a little bit more of the paradise we were looking for and one benefit of the monsoon season was that the place was so quiet, after a long wander back to our hotel, the sun had come down, the lanterns were out, tables set up on the beach and things looked better, a lot better, we sat down at a table, kicked off our sandals and with the sand between out toes and the sound of the sea lapping against the shore we settled down for a dinner of BBQ'd king prawns and sea bass, followed by a dessert of bananas in sweet coconut milk, sickly sweet but so delicious - later we were told that it is a celebration dish in Thailand, it had been a very good end to the day
The next day we decided to hire a jeep and take a good look around the island, Rob was driver as always and I took the job as navigator - not too hard considering there is only one main road that takes you all the way around the island but a little bit more difficult when I'm constantly looking for smaller roads that when we drive past I don't even realise are roads! Our first stop was Wat Plai Laem which is is between Bo Phut and Choeng Mon beaches, this is an incredible collection of temples this is not quite finished but very different to anything we had seen before, colourful temples floating on huge man-made lotus leaves, lots of good photo opportunities here. Our next stop was Big Buddha which is one of the most recognised and photographed attractions on Koh Samui - it is situated on the tiny island of Koh Faan and then a walk up 73 steps, when you get to the top, there is a huge gold Buddha and a great view across the island, apparently you can see the big Buddha from the plane on the approach to the island. We then carried on driving around the island, coming off the main road when we could, our next stop was Wat Khunaram - yes another temple but this time it housed the body of a mummified monk Loung Pordaeng (complete with his fake Ray Ban sunglasses) the monk is on display in a glass cabinet - apparently when he died 20 years ago her was sitting in the meditation position and he remains that way today, quite weird to look at really, Rob was skeptical that is was real, I just thought it was a bit creepy, have a look at the pics to decide for yourself
After successfully not rolling down the mountain we got home, freshened up and decided to make our way to the 'Fisherman's Village' this is located near the Big Buddha at Bo Phut beach and is know to be one of the places that had kept the most traditional feel - luckily we had gone on a Friday night too when it becomes a walking street only. Small streets with restaurants, shops, food stalls etc, all the better as there were no cars allowed down, lots of people and a good place for a wander on an evening, we found somewhere nice for dinner and I had a yellow curry with noodles that was so fresh and tasty, it came with fresh chili, ginger, shallots and bean sproats to put in as and when you fancied, a really delicious dinner, Rob had fish and chips, I think he'd had Thai food overload but he enjoyed it nevertheless
A few days later we decided to hire our old banger again to get out and about, his time we choose to go to Samui aquarium and tiger zoo - that's the geek in me coming out 'come on Rob it will be fun and we can learn something'. We had a really good day, we both enjoyed the aquarium and the sea lion show, it was really good fun and we even got a kiss from one of the sea lions, after that we saw the tiger show, this wasn't so much fun, in fact it felt pretty sad. I mean, neither of us know much about Bengal Tigers but I don't think they should be pacing back and forth in a small cage, I don't think they should/would/could be made to walk across a tightrope backwards and forwards or jump through a hoop on fire and I definitely don't think we should be able to lie all over them and have our pictures taken, well not without them trying to bite our heads off anyway. It felt uncomfortable, not entertaining or anything else. I did a little bit of research on this when we got back to our room and there is a lot of controversy about the tigers being illegally imported and mistreated, there was a lot to read but there is not much proof, all I can say is that it didn't feel right.
So that's about all we have been up to so far, the next few days we will probably spend relaxing and getting ready for the next part of our journey which takes us through Malaysia down to Singapore a busy few weeks to come but I think we will still be looking for our paradise when we leave this island....